The business team announces that a new product is ready for launch and asks legal to sign off on a key contract, or the collateral materials that will accompany the product to market. Although you understand the implications of a delay, and also realize that raising a red flag at this stage will not be well-received, it is nevertheless your responsibility to protect the company from potential legal issues arising post-launch. Because the legal department’s review inextricably involves a level of scrutiny often overlooked by the business team, it inevitably reveals missed steps or open items requiring action, which unfortunately will slow down the business team’s momentum.
As former in-house lawyers, each member of our team has been squeezed by the occasional collision of business and legal objectives. However, what those experiences have taught us is how valuable it can be to empower the business team upfront by providing helpful resources – checklists, articles, training sessions and other tools – to help them get ahead of small problems and avoid unintended delays. Beyond saving time, this support offers the added advantage of helping to build valuable relationships within the organization by demonstrating to the business team that the legal department is on their side, as opposed to working against them, if and when red flags are encountered.
In this new blog series, Deal Accelerators, we will share resources prepared by Outside GC lawyers for their own clients, written in plain English to encourage an independent review of their work product before legal is asked to “sign-off.” Although these materials will never replace the important role you (or your lawyer) will play as the “last eyes” before launch, they will help to create a more predictable process, and hence, will save time, build relationships and most importantly, get the deal done quickly.